Remembering Trayvon: A Decade Later
As Black History Month comes to an end, I've been thinking a lot about my role as a black creator. I have always been creative but college was the time when I explored my creativity the most! It was also the time when I was most exposed to advocacy and social justice work-
You see, I attended a PWI (predominantly white institution) in a very small town. When I say predominantly white, I mean I could count the other people of color on campus. It was very obvious when I missed a class as one of the only brown faces, and there were not many spaces where I didn't feel the gravity of my skin color. The university also happened to be 20 minutes away from where Trayvon Martin lost his life.
At the time, I was an art minor and just figuring out what ceramics could do. When we got the news, of course, it was shocking as someone who lived in South Florida and attended school near Sanford. Moreso, as a lover of hoodies and my brown skin, this case really hit home in terrifying and meaningful ways. I felt that black and brown kids deserved more, to be treated better. We were MORE than a black face in white spaces, MORE than a black hoodie, MORE than visual diversity tactics and tokenism. The hoodie symbolized a hidden value, a hidden light that for Trayvon was snuffed out all too soon. So I sketched out a ceramic design for a hoodie and joined in the local cause for the case.
The sketch remained untouched until 2019 when I transformed my ceramics hobby into a passion. My art reframes chaos as a creative and even positive force. I knew I wanted to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the Trayvon Martin incident. It wasn't until the 2021 Rihanna Met Gala interview that I revisited the idea. She sported a floor-length hoodie and spoke about wanting a look that was authentic to the culture, reclaimed power, and was effortless.
The concept behind the "More Than" hoodie lamp is the same: reframing what hoodies represent and highlighting effortless individual style. As a life-long hoodie lover and an artist of color, I want to continue exploring the impact hoodies have on popular culture, concepts of comfort or safety, and expressions of individual style.
"More Than" is the perfect return back to what I love most with ceramics: sculpture. This year Khaos Creates will be less focused on commercial pieces like jewelry and pots and feature more sculptural art pieces. This is where I feel my voice can be most authentically realized. I hope you continue with me along this journey.